I have tried to have this conversation a few times in China. The problem is when trying to explain the difference between beer, wine and spirits.
People assume that spirits means something similar to 白酒. However many Western style spirits don't have the same alcohol proof as most 白酒 (to my knowledge).
I don't particularly want to discuss the alcohol proof, I am hoping there is already a collective word for Western style spirits (gin, whisky, brandy) without going into the routine of explaining that we have a range of liquors which aren't as strong as 白酒.
The point gets lost in translation if I can't get my meaning across quick enough. So is there a term for "Spirits" other than the Chinese 白酒?